Driving Negroes South


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 8, 1862

You are viewing an issue of Harper's Weekly from our online archive. We have posted the entire run of Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. These papers are rich with eye-witness illustrations and news reports written as the events unfolded.

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General Rosecrans

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Mary Todd Lincoln

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Youngest Civil War Soldier

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Ninth Indiana

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Driving Negroes

Driving Negroes South

Man of War

Man of War

Baltimore Ohio Railroad

Baltimore Ohio Railroad


Hancock, Maryland

Black Slaves

Black Slaves

Uncle Sam Cartoon

Uncle Sam Cartoon











[NOVEMBER 8, 1862.



ON pages 712 and 713 we publish an illustration of an event of very frequent occurrence at the present time in Virginia namely, the DRIVING OF NEGROES SOUTH in order to escape the approach of our army. The poor creatures are collected in gangs, handcuffed or chained together, and driven off under the lash or at the point of the bayonet. One authority says:

A refugee from the vicinity of Leesburg states that a rebel cavalry force appeared in that place on Monday last and forcibly carried South all the negroes who had previously been collected together there, and placed in confinement, by order of General Lee.

The Times correspondent says:

While at Aldie, on Thursday last, two citizens, named Moore and Ball, came within our lines and were detained as prisoners. The first named is a son of the proprietor of Moore's flour mills, at Aldie, on a branch of Goose Creek, and the latter is a large planter in the same town. They had "done nothing," so they said, and were neither bushwhackers nor soldiers, and were surprised at being detained within our lines when so near their homes, from which they had been absent some time. Upon being questioned closely, they admitted that they had just come from the James River; and finally owned up that they had been running off "niXXers" having just taken a large gang, belonging to themselves and neighbors, southward in chains, to avoid losing them under the emancipation proclamation. I understand, from various sources, that the owners of this species of property, throughout this section of the State, are moving it off toward Richmond as fast as it can be spared from the plantation; and the slaveholders boast that there will not be a negro left in all this part of the State by the 1st of January next.

Another correspondent says:

The rebels in Secessia are busily engaged just now in running off to Richmond and beyond, negroes and conscripts. A Union man, just from below Culpepper, says that he saw droves of negroes and white men on the road at different points—all strongly guarded. He does not exactly know which excited his pity most, the white or black men.


WE publish on page 716 a view of the DESTRUCTION OF THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD by the rebels, as seen from Fair View Mountain; and on page 717 several pictures taken at HANCOCK. All are from sketches by our special artist, Mr. Theodore R. Davis. He writes:


The rebels are completing as fast as possible the destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad by burning the ties. This they do by placing fence-rails upon the track and firing them; this destroys not only the ties, but completely ruins the iron. When I made my sketch from the signal-station on Fair View Mountain the sight was beautiful. The burning road showed a snake-like trail of smoke for miles, the Potomac showing here and there like lakes, and the thousands of little tents gave a charming contrast to the changing forest. It is, we are told, the intention of the rebels to destroy the road as far as it is within their reach. They say that it "Yankeeized" the country through which it ran—meaning that it civilized it.


Hancock, an exceedingly picturesque town of 4000 inhabitants, situated on this side of the Potomac, is now the theatre of considerable military activity, being occupied by a portion of the right wing of the Army of the Potomac. Lieutenant Eggleston, Provost Marshal of Conch's division, having ordered, the moment he arrived in the city, all the hotels and restaurants to cease from selling liquor while the troops remained, destroyed all he found upon the premises of those who disobeyed the order, and by doing so preserved order and discipline among the soldiers and citizens. Hancock is now the eastern terminus of the western portion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Each train has in front of it a gun mounted upon a platform car, and the engineers and firemen are furnished with rifles to protect themselves from attacks from guerrillas. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is on this side of the river, and the sketch represents a regiment passing through a culvert under the canal on their way to the ford.


FATES ripen fast in these days, and all that was happiest and hardest for me is over now. Years seem to have passed since June, and yet I can count the months on the fingers of one hand. Life had always run in an even current with me; my griefs no one could see; noteless agonies, none the less keen because sometimes fantastic. At first the world looked awkwardly to me: I was long in harmonizing. But as I grew older and gained confidence and occupation, a degree of happiness was mine. Perhaps if I had kept in my corner I might have crystallized into the historical, botanizing, serene specimen of ladyhood I was fast becoming at twenty-one. But Time's whirligig soon placed me in the midst of the people of my little drama.

There was Morrison Deane, whom I had long known with the indifference of friendship, now to find him of kindred. He told me how long he had watched me, how he understood my undeveloped powers. I felt that out of all he knew he confided only in me. His sympathy made me proud. Slow natures sometimes kindle in a moment to steady flame; and if I had been slowly educating myself to the appreciation of this man, what matter? No need to dwell on it, I loved him.

Do you know the mystery? The subtle, indefinite uplifting of the whole nature, the abandonment of the first rapture, the slow and hard control of a new being. I was changed out of my own understanding. For the first time I apprehended the unutterable beauty of that attribute of Divinity. Then I first truly worshiped God.

The future lay then in mazy, shifting colors; in no day-reverie did I seek to find my fate. Girls are prone to deceive themselves, and fancy the friendship of their    friend turning love-color; but I

did not falter but once, it was so easy. Aunt Felix and I had lived on in our country home without a thought of change. We two were alone in the world, and were contented as two women ever can be. Suddenly the ancient maiden, a hundred times more youthful in her feelings than I, consented to enliven the solitude of a solemn, respectable widower, a man I should never have suspected. Then my friends took counsel on my affairs and decided I should be buried no longer, but take up my abode henceforth with my guardian and cousin James. So the house was dismantled, all my nooks and habits invaded, and all I was to commence my new life with was packed in three great trunks before me. The only time I was ungracious to Morrison Deane was that afternoon, when he walked in swinging his straw-hat and looking so cool and contented as to infuriate me. "Well," he said, in a few moments, "you are cross. Come, take a walk; I have to go over the river, and—is it too far for you? Who knows how soon, like knight and maid, we may track these old ways again!"

I picked up my hat from the floor, and we walked toward the long, covered bridge that spanned the river. Leaving its hot and dusty interior we took a road that lay across desolate meadows, gradually gaining higher ground, till the queer brown houses of Berkeley began to straggle down to us, and we found ourselves in the long, elm-shaded street—the pride of the dwellers therein. I walked on slowly until Morrison ended his errand, when we turned back again. The hour altered the scene. Soft rose and amber faded into the blue of upper heaven, and faint earth-mists began to creep from the meadows, which bore a loneliness I had never felt before. Some portion of my mood escaped me as we talked unrestrainedly.

"I dread this new uncertainty so, my nature shrinks so timorously from the life before me, that I wish I could slip quite out of it. I feel hopeless."

"Look at the bridge," said he, as we neared it. "Along its dark perspective friendly little lamps glitter; there is no life without them. You should have nothing to trouble you deeply. Have you?"

"I suppose not. There is nothing to weep for, nothing to anticipate; nobody to regret, and nobody to whom I am any thing more than Miss Oliver."

We had entered the bridge. It was deserted. The low gurgle of the water and our lingering footsteps were the only sounds that roused the echoes.

"Pshaw!" said Morrison, and put his arm around me—he knew he might, perhaps. "How desperate you women are when a little sad! Now I would work off, in my calculations or rough riding, such a mood as this; but you brood over it until you are ready for a flying leap from the parapet. Are you not Margie to me?"

His tone shot through me. Oh, how happy I might be! Then came the flashing thought, like the rare jewel that makes the weary diamond-seeker free.

We came out on the open road again, and I asked him if he had seen Elsie, my cousin's daughter. "Not since she was a child," he answered. He had heard she was very pretty, but not prettier than all young ladies, he imagined.

"They are very gay there. I wonder what sort of setting you will make for yourself! Can you turn fashionist?"

"I may."

"There is only one thing that I rejoice at in this transplantation—you will be on my ground; within these past few years we have been separated more than I like. You must tell your cousin James that I am one of your pieces of property."

He lingered in the door-way, and, I knew, felt retrospective and a little sad, as I did, at the thought of the old place being deserted; but he said nothing but cheerful words, and bade me good-night.

Days sped, and, clasped in Elsie's arms, I felt my real poverty—that Nature had left me giftless. Here stood one who dazzled my senses. There was nothing neutral or negative about her. All glowed with the immortal tint of loveliness. I never yet saw a perfect statue or a Titian dream of color, or heard strains of Schubert's music, without pain that almost annulled my pleasure. Some such heartache possessed me as I looked at her.

"I admire your Mr. Deane," Elsie said, after his first visit. At the second she whispered, "Doesn't he love music? I shall practice Mozart now, you may be sure." At the third she said nothing.

He had promised to spend a certain Wednesday evening with us, and Elsie offered him the bait of chocolate if he'd come to tea. She spent all the afternoon at her toilet, braiding her hair before the glass, now looping it low, now pushing it back from her face, studying effects. I knew what she was thinking of. I believed she would succeed; and when his eyes fell on her that evening I knew she had succeeded.

Not many days after this he found me alone, buried in the papers.

"Put aside your politics," said he; "I want to talk to you." So I laid down the broad sheet.

"We seem on the thunderous eve of another revolution, it seems. Have you read this leader?"

He put it by.

"I am selfish just now, Margie, and think of nothing but my own embarrassments. I love Elsie. You must have seen it, knowing me as well as you do. Be honest. Do you think it hopeless?"

"Every thing yields to the fortunate prince," I answered. "Try."

He lifted my hand to his lips as Elsie swept in all perfume and color. I don't think he would have spoken just then, barely giving me time to escape, but he saw her mistaking eyes fixed on me.

It was soon over, and my merry maid sprang in, scarlet in her cheeks and fire in her eyes. I must congratulate her.

He found a moment to speak to me that night.

It was easer to tell him how glad I was he was satisfied and happy.

For two months he was intensely happy, a brief absence his only misery. Sharp enough, he thought, as he loitered over his adieux in Aidrich's sweet poet fashion. As he sat in the room with her he watched her unobserved with that full gaze that made me fancy all the fountains of his soul completed it.

"Elsie," I began one night after he had gone, and we sat by the open window together, " how do you love him?"

She echoed my words. "What do you mean?"

"I know you think him nice and handsome, besides being cleverer than some men, but if he should become very poor, or some fearful thing should happen to him—if you had to wait for your wedding-day all through the freshness of your youth and his—do you feel as if you had feeling enough to carry you over a dwelt of time and circumstance?"

"Why, if I love him, I love him," she answered; "I don't know about romance."

"I was not talking romance," I said.

The battle guns brought us out of ourselves. Morrison was true to himself. With a smile he sang the little ballad of Lovelace's, and as he ended—

"I could not love thee, dear, so much,

Loved I not honor more"

stooped forward, and clasped her hands. She did not understand, but half read some bodeful fate in his passionate glance, my startled air.

"What is it, Morry?" chimed the silver voice.

"I am one of the President's soldiers," he answered, gravely, and changed to tender soothing; which must have proved successful, for I found Elsie studying his commission with a kind of vanity I shared.

Morrison went, and the struggle of months brought him out unscathed. When I saw him fresh, brown, and warlike my courage rose.

One hour in all that summer's patient campaign he bestowed on me. Moved out of all reserve, he suddenly asked, "Are you dying a slow death, Margie? You are working too hard for the soldiers, and giving drop by drop your blood to these needy veins."

"No," I told him. It was new life. I had found my work. Then we talked of the war seriously and of Elsie. He had parted from her at Saratoga.

"You will watch over her for any sake, the one dear thing I own?"

I promised, and he shook hands warmly and moved away. I looked gravely after him. Who knew the mischance another month might hold? He caught my look and came back, reuttering his good-by, and for the first time kissed me. When the door fairly closed the only tears I ever shed for him felt hot, hard-wrung.

The wounded came pouring in, The gloomy lists in the papers swelled. It did not startle me when I read his name in the long, confused column; I only thought of what must be done. But what could I do! I was the only one at home—I could not hurry to the battle-field. It was not my right to nurse him when he came. But when my friends wrote me he was in New Haven—that haven of good nursing and devoted care—and not a word was heard from Elsie or her accompanying papa, I took my sober old Louisa and started for Connecticut. Once I thought of the proprieties; then "Pooh," said I—"the women are too busy to comment on me, and have I not some gray hairs?" It was a relief to feel myself borne along in the rapid train. It was night before we reached our journey's end. That night was the hardest I ever passed.

As early in the morning as I dared we walked to the hospitals. At the entrance stood some young girls smiling under their round hats. Their silver chatter ceased as we entered. A few moments' delay and inquiry, and I walked slowly down the room to his bedside.

"Ah me, Morrison Deane!"

He smiled, and said, "You are here, thank God!" I was speechless; but nothing could have torn me from him after that—only Elsie.

He seemed to fail rapidly, and the physicians looked doubtfully at each other—the women sorrowfully at me. They could not bear to lose so loyal, so obedient a soul.

Truer than steel, firmer than the rock, gentle as a girl, yet fighting with a steadfast sternness, and urging on his men with a resolution that there should be no failure. That is the soldier—that was he.

After a long consultation the surgeon told him by how uncertain a thread he held on life. The amputation of his arm might save him; but in his enfeebled state it was a great risk, and yet the only hope.

A letter from Elsie lay next his heart, as he answered cheerfully, "Let it be done. I shall not die of that. She loves me!" he whispered to me. "Let me scratch a line to her before."

So I fastened down a sheet of paper to the portfolio with pins, and gave him a pencil. He had sought himself to write with his left hand, but achieved the epistle with no little difficulty.

"Much as I have longed for her," said he, while I folded it, "I am thankful she accepts my will so patiently. Not for all the comfort she could bring would I have her exposed to these scenes for an hour. If I die," turning his eyes full on my face, "she will only know she has lost me, without the added anguish of detail, for she has not your anchored soul."

After the operation, contrary to all their fears, he began to rally; daily he grew better till my blood began to bound again. Hour after hour as I sat and fanned him, trying to create a coolness in the heated air, his eyes met mine with undaunted courage.

"I can never fight again!" was the only despondent thing he said.

"But then you can be a tax-gatherer," the doctor suggested.

A few mornings later and this watchful attendant said,

"This is unaccountable! Captain Deane was so well yesterday that I began to think of sending him home; to-day is the weakest yet, his pulse is absolutely nothing."

"Is the arm painful?" walking to him.

"Not much," he answered. The doctor made his examinations and went away unsatisfied. I watched him lie motionless, silent, pale. only a quiet breath or weary movement showing him alive. There was no change for the letter: as the days passed he sank under an invisible hand.

Then it came to pass that I said, as I leaned over him, "Shall I not send for Elsie now?"

He turned his face to the wall as he answered, "She will not marry a cripple, Margie; she has changed her mind."

That letter, like the anchorite's cross of points, was on his breast; he gave it to me, but could I read her renunciation? I could not see. It dropped unheeded as I put my arm over him and touched his. cheek with mine. I could not help it. His enemy had struck him unarmed and unaware.

He turned his face to me.

"Is it so, poor child?" said he, faintly. "Are we all wrong? Be faithful; God will set it right."

The hour came when they lowered him into the earth, and fired their volleys over him.

I wished they could have dug a grave for me, but I have to live.


AFTER visiting the White Village, I had agreed to accompany Saunderson to a place called the Little Village, which belonged to the widowed lady who had obtained from the white villagers mercy for being merciful. The management of this estate, including a large saw-mill, corn-mill, and sugar-mill, was under the control of the intelligent gentleman whose acquaintance I had made at the hunt. The distance was about thirty miles, and, although we could have gone by a more open and safe route, we decided on the forest track, as the nearest, and as affording the best chance of sport by the way. During two preceding nights the frost had sharpened, until the snow was crisp and firm, and formed in any direction through the wood a magnificent hard road, without a track on it. Instead of shunning the wolves, which abounded in the forest, we resolved to court their company, and for this purpose carried with us a decoy, in the shape of a young pig carefully tied up in a strong canvas sack. Rifles, knives, ammunition, brandy-flasks, and sandwiches, having been put into our well-appointed sleigh, we set off, passed the church, crossed the bridge, went up the hill a little. and then striking into the forest, were soon in its labyrinths. Our driver was the starost's son, a man of about five-and-thirty, who had established himself as coachman on all my excursions. Two of Saunderson's wolf-hounds and the count's Newfoundland dog, lay at our feet, perfectly alive to the possibilities of sport.

Before we had quite left all evidences of traffic we heard the sound of men shouting and laughing at some distance. Determined to see what was going on, we left the sleigh, and taking our rifles, made toward the noise. Sounds travel far in a wood through clear cold air, and we had further to go than we expected before we found several men, who in felling trees had unearthed a bear. There he stood on his hind-legs, in front of what had been his hibernating place—a large hole under an oak which had been just pulled down. He stood with his back against the trunk, and his fore-feet beating the air, and the men were amusing themselves with his antics. As he seemed to want something to hug, they stepped up close to him, and put a lump of wood covered with mat between his arms. He closed them with a growl, and gave it a hug, and tore the mat to pieces. I was astonished—only for a moment—to see the men so close to him, teasing him without fear for themselves. There was no cause for astonishment; poor Bruin had not yet come to his senses. He was quite blind, thin, and gaunt, his hide hanging on him like a loose garment, and his fur like that of a mangy dog. In the beginning of winter he had prepared his hole, and crept into it. There he had lain on one side, sucking one paw. There he had turned on his other side, and was fast exhausting the other paw, when his dwelling was broken open by an evil chance, and he was forced to get up and collect his benumbed and dormant faculties, among which sight seemed slow to return. He had a dismal and repulsive aspect, as he stood or advanced, on his hind-legs a little way from his support, and retreated to it growling and angry. To prevent the men from torturing the poor creature to death, we put a bullet into the right place, and left the men and the bear together. The bullet saved him from a more cruel death; which is our only excuse for having shot that poor, blind, sleepy, bewildered Bruin.

Just then the driver said: "We shall soon get among the wolves. I think I see their marks."

"Shall we try the pig, as a decoy?" I said to Saunderson.

"By all means, let us have a shot at something that is not blind and helpless. I can not get the old bear off my conscience, poor wretch!"

The pig was dragged from under the seat, where the had lain very quiet, and, by dint of pinching his tail, was made to perform a solo of pig music with variations, which resounded for miles through the stillness of the forest. For some time we could discern no wolves, but at length we caught sight of two, skulking among the underwood, in a parallel line with our path, but at a respectful distance. Although we kept up the decoy music they were shy of approaching within shot. One end of a long white cotton rope was then attached to the mouth of the pig's bag, the other end to the back of the sleigh, and as we slowly turned a bend in the track the bag was dropped behind. We slackened pace, and, as the rope ran out, the pig became of course stationary. When the rope was all run out, we stopped and got out of the sleigh to watch the




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